The performance of Moussa Sissoko in the first 45 minutes as a Newcastle player on Tuesday night was something to behold, and he put in a great first half shift against Aston Villa before being replaced in the second half, after he was feeling the pace of the Premier League.
Moussa Sissoko - in action at Villa Park
We had thought that Moussa would be deployed as the defensive midfielder – since that was the principal position he played at Toulouse – but Alan Pardew played him essentially as a withdrawn striker just behind Papiss Cisse up front – and it worked a charm as the Villa defenders just couldn’t mark him adequately.
This is what Alan Pardew said today about his new 23 year-old 6’2″ midfield powerhouse:
“My vision of him in the team is to play a role where he is using his energy. He has massive energy and power.” “I don’t want to compare him to another player but he can play, I would say, all three roles in that midfield area.”
“He can play behind the front, he can play number eight in a sort of Stevie Gerrard type role and he can sit.” “He learned a lot on Tuesday. He is not going to have it all his own way and in the second half he found it a bit more difficult.”
We expect the same side to start against Chelsea on Saturday – and the London side could only draw at Reading on Wednesday night, when they conceded two goals in the 87th minute and 5 minutes into injury time.
That gave Reading a valuable home point – and you guessed it – it was Adam Le Fondre who scored both goals after he came on as a sub after 67 minutes – much like he did when Reading beat Newcastle almost two weeks ago and he also scored both goals.
It will be interesting to see if we can take a point off Chelsea – but we’ll have to steady ourselves in the second half – whatever the score is – as we seem to get over-run far too much in the final 45 minutes of games this season.
We now have adequate players to come on as subs now – after some excellent transfer business in January as we saw when Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was introduced on Tuesday night.
A point would be very welcome against Chelsea, and a win would be fantastic.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org